Hockey Central Sports Lounge’s last day on Sylvan Lake’s Lakeshore Drive was a memorable one.
The sports bar opened at 5 a.m. on Feb. 23 so that hockey fans could watch the Olympic gold medal between Canada and Sweden.
After a spirited day of celebration, Hockey Central closed the doors to the 5000 Lakeshore Dr. premises that it had occupied since last May, and then reopened early last week in Ryders Square.
“So we ended there on a great note,” said Michelle Becker, who owns the lounge and Hockey Central Sports Memorabilia shop with Darren Field.
“It was unbelievable. We ended up turning, I think, 50 people away at the door. We were full. It was crazy.”
But Becker is pleased to move on, with the new Ryders Square location offering a number of advantages. There’s more space, the layout is more open, and the premises — which were occupied by Cities Gastro Pub until it closed in November — are more accessible for patrons.
“It’s a great location for us.”
The space has undergone extensive renovations, with Becker and Field still planning to add a private room. They’re also developing an area for Hockey Central Sports Memorabilia, which will continue to operate in conjunction with the lounge.
Becker said the new sports memorabilia shop will be smaller, and will focus on collectibles like signed jerseys and pictures.
“Not so much the knick-knacks,” she said.
The lounge has received a new menu and its draft beer selection has expanded to 21 from about 16 previously.
The new lounge even has white and red wine on tap, said Becker.
A stage is also being constructed, with live entertainment to be offered there on a regular basis, said Becker. Among the first will be an April 10 event involving Edmonton Oilers alumni Dave Semenko and Marty McSorley.
Hockey Central Sports Lounge is open daily at 11 a.m.
Admission to the April 10 event with Semenko and McSorley will be by ticket only.